Spyro: A Hero’s Tail Review

Developer: Eurocom Publisher: VU Games
Release Date: November 2, 2004 Also On: GCN, PS2 and Xbox

Spyro used to be a major player in the game industry. Those days are long past now. Both Spyro and Crash have become 2nd tier platform characters, replaced by Ratchet and Clank and Sly as the two primary mascots for the PlayStation brand. It must be lonely being a tier 2 platform character, knowing you’re in the same ranks as Blinx, Voodoo Vince, and Tak.

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Sparing you the torment of yet another platformer’s storyline, we’ll skip directly to the gameplay. Spyro: A Heroe’s Tail is a 3D platformer, akin to the other Spyro games in some ways. The difficulty is turned down to be accessible to the new audience that Vivendi Universal has targeted this series at. For experienced platformer fans, there’s not much here to entice you.

In order to explain why you’re doing what you’re doing in the game, I’ll just say this. Red, the fallen dragon, has been mining dark gems, and has planted them all over Spyro’s world. Dark gems are stones that fuel Red’s power, so it’s your job, as Spyro, to destroy these dark gems. Once you destroy X amount, you can proceed to the boss battle. Aside from the dark gems, you’ll also collect light gems, dragon eggs, and regular gems, that can be spent for items.

Spyro: A Hero’s Tail is a collect-a-thon. Rare wore this genre out with their gameplay style of collection. Spyro takes cues from the big R in this fashion. The gameplay is tedious, the action is limited, and the character variety, while nice at times, leaves you feeling that the series has gone to another dimension where we’ll never see the old Spyro that we once loved.

As said above, you’ll play as various helpers to our purple hero. Sgt. Bird, for instance, will have you fly around, shooting things, going through rings, etc. The mole will use his digging skills to burrow underneath the surface to destroy the dark gems. The guy with the bow-and-arrow (I don’t remember his name) will do his thing, running around shooting people. Lastly, you’ll play as the firefly, who will obviously be in flying levels.

As far as graphics go, we’ve seen better with Ratchet and Clank and Sly, but as I said, being a 2nd tier platformer, this is to be expected. The levels are vast, the courses are set with vary little exploration opportunity, and you’re forced to backtrack more than you would like to. The camera never seemed to be a problem, so it worked well enough to get the job done.

Spyro: A Hero’s Tale brings nothing new to the table. It’s standard fare as far as platform titles are concerned. For younger players, this is a good place to start, before you hurdle yourself into something more advanced, like Super Mario Sunshine, but experienced gamers and fans of the Spyro franchise will likely find themselves bored, especially after learning there are checkpoints during the boss fights.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 5
Creativity: 3
Replay Value/Game Length: 6
Final: 5.4
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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